Originally Posted by John Brunken
Can anyone point me to a review of the the Panasonic 65 with the Toshiba XA2? I just received my new 65, and I need to order a disc player. I've considered blu-ray and the new LG dual-player that might be out soon, but I've read some reviews on the XA2 that say the HD PQ is fantastic - as good or better than bu-ray, and it's up-conversion logic is alot better than anything else, "practicaly negating the need for a separate blu-ray player". I'm also a little skeptical of the dual-play LG, just because it's not available for anyone to review, and I doubt that it's up-conversion logic woud be on par with the XA2, maybe I'm downplaying it before we even get a chance to see it! Anyone care to reflect on those thoughts? I'm just about ready to jump on the XA2 bandwagon! Thanks!
I have the Panasonic 65 plasma and the first generation Toshiba HD DVD player and also the Panasonic Blu-ray player. These are my thoughts on both players as viewed on the set. The picture quality is virtually the same for both players. Both players are able to display excellent picture quality when viewing hi def movies. Upconverted SD movies look very good when using either player.
Reading the reviews of the second generation Toshiba (the XA2) indicate the picture quality is arguably no better than the first generation player. The player is now more user friendly, however, and able to output 1080p (which the first generation player could not.) (The Blu-ray players also output 1080p.) The first generation Toshiba player was slow and quirky, but now functions well with the latest firm-ware upgrade. The XA2 is much faster and is not given in to the glitches the first generation player suffered from.
What it boils down to really is what movies you are interested in. At first, HD DVD had a substantial lead in well-mastered movies and the number of movies released. Blu-ray started off with some poorly-mastered movies, but studios have overcome that hurdle and are now releasing well-mastered movies at a pretty decent clip. The amount of HD DVD movies has slowed down somewhat also, but there are still some good ones on the horizon. If a movie is from Universal ("King Kong" "Hulk" "Brokeback Mountain", "The Sting", etc.) you won't see it on a Blu-ray disc anytime soon, if ever. Likewise, if you're a fan of Sony/20th Century Fox/Disney films ("X-men 3", "Fantastic Four", "Black Hawk Down,"Sky High", etc.) they won't be on HD DVD anytime soon, if ever.
I'm not a fan of LG products and the dual players is not finished yet (if it is, indeed, coming. It was announced and cancelled once already.) I certainly wouldn't bank on it being any better than the Toshiba or Pansonic player. (But I'd love to be proven wrong.)
In my opinion, Blu-ray is finally becoming the hi def answer people were hoping it would be from the start. HD DVD is wonderful, but may end up getting crushed by the Sony juggernaut. It might be able to survive if it pushes out more big name titles that Sony does not have access to. Just my two cents.